A MAN recently released from jail and found to possess an "unacceptable risk" of committing a serious terrorism offence was ordered to reside in Wagga as a condition of his supervision.
The 19-year-old, who grew up in Albury and is not named for legal reasons, was released on April 25 after serving 15 months' jail for two violent offences.
Last Friday, the NSW Supreme Court heard that the man has a history of threatening violence and terrorist acts since 2015 while in custody.
A risk assessment report shows that there have been 26 incidents involving him making terrorist threats, expressing a desire to perpetrate terrorist incidents, identifying as a terrorist, expressing a desire to join Islamic State and making provocative drawings.
In 2016, he expressed a desire to "pledge to ISIS" and "slit necks". On another occasion, authorities found a photo of him performing what is alleged to be an ISIS salute.
Some of his drawings found included a plane flying into an Australian Federal Police building.
Another drawing showed a person preparing to behead another person, with the words "Islamic State" and what appears to have been "God is great" in Arabic.
The report's authors note that since mid-2017, he did not show further concerning behaviours and did not seem to hold any strong ideological affiliation with Islamic extremism.
However, during their interview of him in September 2018, he made inquiries about Goulburn Correctional Centre, stating he wanted to be transferred there.
He said he had heard it is run "full sharia with whipping and everything".
While there is no evidence that the man has engaged in any terrorist acts, he claims to have tried to make contact online with Islamic extremists.
In the past six years, he has spent only eight months in the community and the rest in custody for various offences.
The interim supervision was filed by the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office in February this year and the office applied for the order to be renewed every 28 days for three months. It also filed for an extended supervision order for three years.
Not in favour of defendant
On April 18, Justice Mark Ierace ordered only the interim supervision to begin on April 25. He delivered his remarks last week.
Justice Ierace said he was satisfied that the risk posed by the defendant of committing a serious terrorism offence if released unconditionally "is such that I decline to exercise my discretion in the defendant's favour".
A condition requires the man to live in Wagga at an approved address.
An integrated support centre, which is a residential facility in the community operated by the Department of Corrective Services, in western Sydney was initially proposed.
However, the man had previously been assessed as unsuitable for such a facility.
Wagga was chosen so he could be near his mother and to avoid the Albury peer group with which he previously associated.
The risk assessment report stated that interventions to reduce the man's potential for violent extremism include a range of educational courses and mental health programs, including the Violent Offender Therapeutic Program.
The court also heard via a psychiatric report about the man's troubled upbringing and health issues, including schizophrenia, ADHD and substance abuse.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle stated the man has had a childhood characterised by possible trauma and early involvement in crime and substance abuse, among other issues.
"As a result, he has spent a substantial proportion of his adolescence in correctional settings ... This has increased his exposure to antisocial and violent peers," she said.
He has spent a substantial proportion of his adolescence in correctional settings.Forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle
Justice Ierace said one episode of his terrorism threats showed "an interplay between such terrorist thinking, the defendant's drug abuse, mental health issues and an unfocused desire to hurt others".
"The fact that he was not forthcoming to the authors of the risk assessment report and his expression of a wish to be transferred to Goulburn Correctional Centre undermine his claims that he no longer holds the extremist views that he had in 2016 and 2017," he said.
"Even if he genuinely believed that to be true, given his past fluctuations in his beliefs and his extreme vulnerability in the community, one cannot be confident that he would not revert to such beliefs if he is residing back in the community without supervision."
Given his past fluctuations in his beliefs and his extreme vulnerability in the community, one cannot be confident that he would not revert to such beliefs if he is residing back in the community without supervision.Justice Mark Ierace
Justice Ierace said the man's vulnerability from his mental illness, history of accessing drugs and social dysfunction were central to his findings.
"An additional concern is the defendant's apparent reluctance to be forthcoming about his beliefs and state of mind generally," he said.
"Although such reluctance is understandable, given his turbulent history, it nevertheless deprives decision-makers of critical information in assessing his current risk status."
The supervision also allows authorities to check his computer devices and visit his home any time.
Other restrictions may also be imposed and he must attend mental health examinations.
Read other court and crime news
While you're with us, did you know that you can now receive updates straight to you inbox each day at 6am from The Daily Advertiser? To make sure you're up to date with all the Wagga news sign up here